“We have been facing increasingly powerful oppression for the past two years,” said the organizers, reading out statements in Cantonese and Japanese, pointing to crackdowns on pro-democracy activists and protesters under the national security law instituted by Beijing. “It is said that ‘the darkest time is before dawn.’ Hong Kong is now in darkness, but we believe dawn will come one day if we persist with our fight patiently. We will not give up,” the statement said.
Dressed in black, the participants marched through downtown Tokyo, chanting “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times,” a slogan now banned in Hong Kong under the national security law. As the law claims jurisdiction over actions taken overseas, most participants hid their faces with caps, dark glasses and masks.
The rally was part of a global campaign for Hong Kong held this weekend in about 50 cities in over 20 countries and regions including London, Washington, Melbourne and Bangkok.
On June 12, 2019, tens of thousands of protesters gathered around Hong Kong’s Legislative Council to stop the deliberation of a bill to allow suspects to be extradited from Hong Kong to mainland China. In the weeks and months that followed, residents kept coming out, sometimes by the millions, eventually succeeding in having the bill withdrawn. But protests calling for democratization continued after that.
With the novel coronavirus pandemic and the national security law, large-scale protests had disappeared from the streets of Hong Kong since last year, and many activists are now jailed or in exile. According to the Hong Kong government, more than 10,000 people have been arrested in protest-related cases in the past two years, of whom at least 2,500 have been prosecuted. And over 100 people have been arrested under the national security law.
“Hong Kong lost its freedom, and it is difficult for the residents to take action, but they have not given up. So it is now more important than ever for us overseas Hong Kongers to speak up. I hope people in Japan and the world can stand with Hong Kong,” a participant in the Tokyo rally in his 30s said.
Published : June 13, 2021
By : The Japan News / ANN